7th Street Allstar breaks new ground

7th Street Allstar breaks new ground

By Caroline Rohner, Staff Writer

If Elvis Costello and Neil Young ever jammed together in a garage, the result would be 7th Street Allstar.

The Rockford-based group is a stereotypical garage band in many ways. They practice in a one-car garage with amps scattered on chairs, guitars and cigarettes strewn across a couch, and a drum set tucked in the corner. The dim overhead lights reveal half full beer bottles lining the shelves and cables winding along the concrete floor. Despite this setting, 7th Street Allstar is venturing in a unique direction that few bands would consider.

Vocalist and guitarist Vince Jumapao, guitarist Keith Peterson, and drummer Andy Otto craft a distinctive sound by mixing classic punk-rock, country, and blues into their music. This unlikely combination seems to have worked well for the band.

“We’ve been trying to play music for a long time and finally things have started to work out,” Jumapao explained.

Since forming two years ago, 7th Street Allstar has been stockpiling original material for a new CD that is scheduled to be released in July or early August. Jumapao is the primary songwriter and finds inspiration in everyday experiences, but focuses specifically on the hardships he has endured. This personal element is evident on the group’s expressive “Hollow Shell” and “Nice and Cheap.”

The band’s set list also includes some select cover songs. They tackle the Cramps’ appropriately titled “I’m Cramped” and cross into the country realm on R.L. Burnside’s “Goin’ Down South.”

While 7th Street Allstar refuses to be limited to one style of music, Jumapao asserts, “Punk-rock has been a major influence in our lives.” This punk flavor can be heard on the group’s single, “Consistent Thinking Man.” You can listen to this song by visiting www.rockfordrecordcompany.com. The Rockford Record Company is “a guild of our friends’ bands. We’re just trying to draw attention to each other through a Web site,” Jumapao said. The other local acts featured on the site includes Buzzsaw and PL21.

Above all, the band thrives on playing live. Its next performance will be a benefit show for Goodwill at Bacchus on July 26. Guitarist Keith Peterson promises, “You can expect to dance” during their set.

It would be worth your while to check out 7th Street Allstar. If nothing else, their musical concoction of punk-rock, country, and blues proves to be quite intriguing. It’s refreshing to see a group disregard the accepted standards and break out of the garage band mold.

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